Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The little engine that almost could....

While it looks like a spanking on the scoreboard, the Germans could have easily have won today's Germany v Italy World Cup match.

First off, kudos to the German team for a good run in front of the home crowd fans. It was nice to see the host country do well. That being said, they just didn't do very well today. They didn't control the ball like the Italians did, their passing was downright terrible, they didn't have any shots on goal, and they OBVIOUSLY were playing the OT assuming they were going into a shootout. Ooops; Italy was doing the exact opposite, they were obviously playing the OT like they wanted to completely avoid a shootout since they probably would have lost it.

In case you didn't know or already guess, Germany was my pick to win the World Cup.

So now the German team get to look forward to playing for 3rd place, probably against Portugal, who really didn't look that great against England.

Games like the Germany v Italy game today were why I think soccer just can't become a major sport here in the US. While I liked the energy surrounding the game, with fans getting into it and the players coming out playing well, there were problems too.

Paramount among the issues one would be obliged to pick out is the acting hurt that is so pervasive in the games. While there are some hits that look like they might hurt, this game was chalk full of players taking dives. I was surprised nobody got a yellow card for faking. Europeans may knock American Football for not having anything to do with feet, but at least in our game if somebody goes down like they're hurt, they probably are. I've been paying a lot of attention to the World Cup, and I am incredibly sick and tired of players pretending to be hurt; players having to be carried off the field on a stretcher only to run back on a minute or two later. Booooo.

Of course scoring is a problem, but I think that people can get over it. If there's shots on goal, that makes it interesting. Of course today there wasn't a lot of shots on goal, but that happens. A bigger problem I see is the fact that they play the complete halves of the game, they don't stop for timeouts or tv breaks. That's a big reason why the players take dives, so they can get themselves a little break in the action. But I think the game could be improved if there were some sort of built in clock stoppages. This was especially apparent in the England v Portugal match. The players were tired and the quite overtly decided they weren't going to go hard anymore. Portugal had a man advantage on England, and all the could do was knock the ball around a bit. With some sort of built-in clock stoppages, this problem could be heavily reduced. Being that as it may, I will say that it's nice to be able to watch a game and not get deluged with talking geckos and quacking ducks.

Another thing I've noticed, which may just be limited to this World Cup, the camera angles are crap. The mid-field-above-the-action cam works fine, but gimme better shots when someone is about to score a goal, or just kicks one over the bar. With as much money goes into the World Cup, they should have better camera coverage than the NFL.

And of course having good players here in the US to cheer for, that might help soccer in this country.

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